Peshawar observed the third anniversary of the Army Public School (APS) massacre, in which militants killed 144 people, with a sombre ceremony at the school on Saturday.

Parents of the APS martyrs, Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Nazir Ahmad Butt, inspector general Frontier Constabulary (FC) and members of the civil society attended the event at the school's campus in Peshawar to pay tribute to the victims of the carnage.

Lt Gen Butt laid a floral wreath at the monument of APS victims and prayed for the departed souls. A Quran khwani was also arranged where parents, civilians and armed forces personnel participated.

Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants had stormed the school on Dec 16, 2014, killing at least 144 people ─ most of whom were children.

The deadliest attack in Pakistan's history, the carnage prompted the government to declare an all-out war against terrorist outfits in the country. In the wake of the attack, military courts were set up for trying terrorists under amendments made to the Constitution and the Army Act.

The mastermind of the APS massacre, Umar Mansour, alias Khalifa Mansour, alias Umar Naray, was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan last year.

Educational institutes: an easy target?

Three years on — despite the National Action Plan that was chalked out days after the APS massacre and other security strategies — educational institutions in KP remain a relatively easy target for militants.

Less than two years after the school attack, in January 2016, militants had stormed the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, killing 21 students and teachers.

More recently, nine people were killed and 37 injured as three terrorists dressed in burkas stormed the hostel of Peshawar's Agricultural Training Institute earlier this month.

A top KP police official told DawnNews earlier this week that the security force paid 200,000 visits to schools in connection with security arrangements following the APS attack.

He said police had issued 70,000 security advisories and more than 7,000 warnings to different schools on security-related matters. Nearly 60,000 educational institutes are functional in the province while the police has 85,000 personnel in its ranks.

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